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White light and polarization

  1. Jul 30, 2014 #1
    White light is composed of 7 wavelengths. And yet we show white light as one single electrical wave perpendicular to the accompanying magnetic wave. Don't all the waves actually travel separate (though at the same speed)? Also, does polarization of light mean cutting out on the magnetic field completely (with reference to the image)?
     

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  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 30, 2014 #2
    While you probably can trick the human eye into interpreting a combination of seven monochromatic electromagnetic waves as "white light", that is not what we usually mean by that. What we usually means by "white light" is a continuous spectrum of electromagnetic waves, whose frequencies are greater that those of infra-red light, and lower than those of ultra-violet light.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White#Optics

    The answer to the second part (polarization) is simple: no.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarization_(waves)
     
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